Yes, I’m Interviewing You



I’ve talked to a lot of people about many different things.

I’ve had bad conversations and great ones, but I’ve never been asked if I’m interviewing someone.

I always introduce myself and where I’m from. Even if people don’t get the paper, they know about the Chronicle. It’s been around since 1877.

I digress.

I called a potential source on Friday morning, as I do most stories. We had e-mailed back and forth, where I had mentioned several times that I’m looking to do a story and that I’m looking for someone to talk to.

The woman answered and I introduced myself and said who I work for. I asked her if it was too early (I called just after 9:10 a.m.) and she said no.  And so I asked her my first question.

And like what’s happened a thousand times, she began to answer.

But, not before asking me if she was being interviewed.

I paused. I think I was almost frightened. I’m not sure if I made a sound, but my pause was deafening.

I said a very slow and loud “yes,” to her.

She followed quickly by saying “Well, it would have been nice to know that.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I kept talking. She didn’t miss a beat and the rest of the interview went quite well.

After the interview, I was really taken aback.

I told my editor and a fellow reporter what happened. They scoffed and said the woman should have known.

I thought so, too. But, after thinking about it, for the regular citizen, they aren’t used to reporters calling.

Obviously, when I call someone, they know I’m a reporter then, but I’ve never really thought about telling someone I’m interviewing them.

In person, I think it’s a different story. I have my pen in my mouth and my notebook, but on the phone all they have is what I tell them.

Is identifying myself and where I work not enough? I don’t know. I’ve thought it has been.

What do you think?

I mean, do I just tell someone an interview has started? I’ve never had to do that. I haven’t even had that thought cross my mind when I’ve been interviewing anyone. It’s weird to think about.

I mean, wouldn’t that make things that much more uncomfortable for someone who isn’t used to being interviewed.

I have to think about this more.



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